Edward Elgar and the Nostalgic Imagination

Edward Elgar and the Nostalgic Imagination

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Matthew Riley
Cambridge University Press
Edition: First Edition, 2/8/2007
EAN 9780521863612, ISBN10: 0521863619

Hardcover, 254 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
Language: English

During his lifetime, and in the course of the twentieth century, Edward Elgar and his music became sites for a remarkable variety of nostalgic impulses. These are manifested in his personal life, in the content of his works, in his critical and biographical reception, and in numerous artistic ventures based on his character and music. Today Elgar enjoys renewed popularity in Britain, and nostalgia of various forms continues to shape our responses to his music. From one viewpoint, Elgarian nostalgia might be dismissed as escapist, regressive and reactionary, and the revival in Elgar's fortunes regarded as the symptom of a pernicious 'heritage industry' in post-colonial, post-industrial Britain. While there is undeniably a grain of truth to that view, Matthew Riley's careful treatment of the topic reveals a more complex picture of nostalgia, and sheds light on Elgar and his cultural significance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

1. Nostalgia
2. Memory
thematic reminiscence in Elgar
Autumnal harmonies
3. Nobility
the ideal in the present
Negative nobility
Faith and ruin
4. Nature
the rural Pan
The wind among the pines
Aeolian visitations
Nature and form
5. Childhood
the Romantic child
Moore's 'Better Land'
Starlight and recollection
The Elgarian child transformed
6. Identity
the feminine element inside
Imperialist nostalgia
A demon for counterpoint
7. Waters
A flowing-awayness
Penal waters
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Review of the hardback: '... a heavyweight and widely researched production, at its most distinguished when close descriptive musical analysis focuses ideas and sets off fascinating trains of thought.' Musical Times